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How to talk to your doctor about hip pain

A woman talks to a healthcare provider.

If hip pain is creating problems in your life, your doctor can help you find some answers.

If your hip hurts, don't hold back.

Talking with your doctor about your hip pain may help you find the relief you need to live your best life.

It's a conversation worth having even if you already have a diagnosis, like arthritis. Even more so if your doctor is still trying to determine the reasons for your hip pain.

What to tell your doctor

First, your doctor may need a better understanding of your hip pain and its impact on your daily life. So when you visit, be prepared to discuss how you are feeling, suggests the Arthritis Foundation.

For instance, your doctor may ask you:

  • Exactly where does it hurt?
  • When did the pain start?
  • Is the pain constant or does it come and go?
  • What does your pain feel like? For instance, is it sharp, dull or burning?
  • When do you feel the pain? For instance, does it tend to occur more in the morning or evening?
  • What seems to make the pain better or worse? For example, does using a heating pad or ice pack help? Does lying down or sitting up help? Do any activities seem to trigger your pain?
  • Does your pain make it difficult to perform any of your daily activities, such as getting dressed or going grocery shopping?
  • What medicines have you tried for pain relief? Did they help?

What to ask your doctor

Good communication is a two-way street. So you should ask your doctor some questions too. To make the most of your time, try bringing a list to your appointment.

For instance, you may want to ask your doctor:

  • What is the most likely cause of my pain?
  • Which treatments may help? What are their benefits and risks?
  • Are there medicines I can try? If so, what should I know about taking them safely?
  • Would physical therapy, exercise or other lifestyle changes help me?
  • Do I need to modify or avoid any of my favorite activities?
  • How long will it take for me to start feeling better?

If you think you may have trouble remembering your doctor's answers to your questions, consider bringing a loved one or a friend to your appointments to take notes. Or ask if it's OK to record your doctor's answers.

Together, you can get to the bottom of your hip pain—and start taking steps to feel better.

Reviewed 8/16/2022

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